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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

252                              THE GAY GENIUS

degrading Tsai Chueh, Tsai Ching, and Chang Chun, who were,
however, to stage a powerful come-back later.  But Tseyu had also
impeached one of the leaders of the Hopei party by as many as seven
memorials, until the leader fell, and he had characterised other people.
of the Hopei party as "rice bags".

The fight was on. Dirty squabbles of politicians are never interest-
ing to anybody else, for unlike the fight over Wang Anshih's stajjej
capitalism, for instance, they involve no question of policy or principle.
Su Tungpo had fought against the restoration of the military draft, but
this was not the issue that the partisans took up. It was a matter of
mere quibbling. As an examiner giving out a subject for examinations
of scholars for ministry posts, he had asked the candidates to write on
the following question: The Emperor Jentsung inclined towards laissez}
jairc and the Emperor Sfaentsung inclined towards rigid governments
control.  A loissez faire type of government leads to lazy and la
administration, while a strict governmental system tends to become
too severe. Now, in the Han dynasty, Emperor Wen ruled by an easy-
going administration without causing inefficiency, and Emperor Shiian
ruled by strict control without over-severity. The candidates were asked
to explain the secrets of the happy' medium. The politicians objected to
this subject for the examination papers, and Su Tungpo was brought
to task in repeated letters to the Empress asking for his trial.  The
charge was disrespect to Emperors Jentsung and Shentsung.

As usual when the Empress put a protest on the shelf, the officials!
followed up with successive memorials. From the middle of December
1086, to January n, 1087, four or five impeachments of Su Tungpo wjey^
delivered. On January 12 the Empress ordered the officials to stop. On
January 13 the officials received the edict at the premier's office. Defying
the edict, the same officials sent up another memorial the following day.
Meanwhile, Su Tungpo had not bothered tp reply, but had submitted
four letters of resignation begging to be sent away from the capital. By
about the sixteenth it was clear that the Empress was going to stand up
for Su Tungpo, because she had said to the courtiers that what Su
Tungpo had meant was the laxity or severity of the governmental
personnel, and that he had not meant disrespect to the emperors them-
selves. There was even talk of the punishment of the officials who
impeached Su Tungpo.

It was then that Su Tungpo decided not to beg for release but to
fight the case. He sent a letter of two thousand words to the Empress
on January 17, outlining his position and condemning petty politics.
He was fighting for the principle to disagree. He pointed out in the
letter that it was not to the interest of the State that officials should all
express the same opinions or should avoid expressions of opinion for
fear of giving offence to others. The ministers and the ruler should help